Amtrak's proposed Heartland Flyer expansion would triple the frequency of rides between the station in downtown Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, as well as extend Amtrak service to Newton, Kansas through Wichita.
In a Zoom press conference Tuesday, Amtrak officials and local politicians discussed the Heartland Flyer vision, which would increase the current one daily roundtrip from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City to three a day.
"This service would connect to the Texas Triangle routes we have in our vision out of Fort Worth and two important long-distance services in Newton," Amtrak president Stephen Gardner said on the call. "This new service would extend substantially travel options and stimulate the economy."
Funding for the proposal would need to come from both the federal and state level. Amtrak CEO William Flynn said the proposal isn't totally dependent on President Biden's infrastructure bill but would require some level of federal funding.
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"Certainly, we need funding," Flynn said. "Federal funding here to initiate services, and we need the support of several states going forward."
He said a bill recently introduced in the House discusses Amtrak and well as this corridor expansion.
Currently, the Amtrak station in Newton connects to both Los Angeles and Chicago, while the Fort Worth station connects to Austin and San Antonio. Another proposed plan in Amtrak's vision named the Texas Triangle would connect Amtrak's Dallas station to College Station and Houston.
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The expansion would bring an estimated 100,000-200,000 riders annually, according to Amtrak. College students traveling to and from Kansas universities to Oklahoma and the Dallas Fort-Worth area are expected to be a significant part of those riders, Kansas Sen. Carolyn McGinn (R) said.
No representatives from Fort Worth or Dallas were in attendance, but several local leaders from Newton, Kansas and Oklahoma as well as Kansas and Oklahoman state senators did join the call.